Stupid attention-seeking antics are packaged as big news, diverting the Indonesian public’s focus from important political issues, such as whether there’s any hope of corruption-tainted political parties being willing or able to field clean and competent candidates for the presidency in 2024.
One of the latest bits of idiotic celebrity-worshipping garbage being dressed up as news concerns a wealthy woman bathing in milk at her opulent residence in Jakarta’s “Little Singapore ” neighbourhood of PIK (Pantai Indah Kapuk, which means Kapok Beautiful Beach). Kapok, in case you didn’t know, is a type of tree with large seedpods bearing fluffy cotton-like fibre, which can be used to stuff mattresses.
While the biological etymology of urban Indonesian geographical appellations is fascinating, it’s never going to win in a social media popularity contest against an image of a scantily clad woman pouring milk over herself.
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The media runs vacuous “celebrity” tripe for two reasons. First, sexy images and clickbait headlines generate clicks, likes and shares, which means media companies are in a stronger position to attract online advertising revenue, essential for their economic survival. Second, some politically-connected media barons seem reluctant to focus on criticizing crooked politicians, authorities and tycoons, as the country now generally lacks a major political opposition. Getting a slice of the pie is clearly more important than integrity and ethics.
But let’s cease the sermonizing and get back to the reason you clicked on this ill-informed drivel in the first place.
Helena Lim, the woman who posted a video of herself bathing in UHT milk, has been labelled a “crazy rich Indonesian”, and even more specifically, a “crazy rich PIK”, both terms being a riff on the 2013 novel Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan.
Bathing in milk has for millennia had reputed health and beauty benefits. Most famously, Cleopatra (who died in 39 BC) apparently bathed in the milk of young asses – although that might have been propaganda invented by the Romans to discredit her.
In Indonesia, about one-third of children are stunted because of poor dietary nutrition and poor sanitation. Hence, it’s too easy to criticize someone who resorts to bathing in cows’ milk in order to satisfy their sad craving for attention and self-validation. A litre of UHT milk in Indonesia sells for about Rp15,000 (US$1) and upward.
Indonesia presently has a poverty rate of about 10.2%, which means about 27.54 million Indonesians are living on less than US$1.90 a day. Those earning $2 or more a day aren’t officially classified as poor.
So why waste money bathing in milk when needy children are suffering malnutrition? Well, why not? It’s your money. It’s a free country. If you pay your taxes, the government can put them toward national nutrition and welfare programs. Bathing in milk is much less stupid than wasting your money on tobacco and/or nightly consumption of alcohol.
Helena was looking for attention when she made the video of herself dressed in a gold bikini and bathing in milk. The video was uploaded to her Instagram account, @helenalim899. It’s also intended for her account on TikTok – a site devoted to those who worship at the temple of narcissism.
After pouring milk over herself, Helena reclines in the tub, to which numerous flowers have been added. Anyone with an iota of intelligence would not waste their time watching such a pathetic stunt. But perhaps Indonesia’s ban on pornographic websites prompts some curious males to try to satisfy their lust over such stuff. And perhaps some shallow females might aspire to emulate the wealth and half-witted antics of online celebs.
Many netizens responded to Helena’s milk bath with predictable outrage, complaining they can’t afford to buy milk for their children, so they were appalled to see milk being wasted.
Previously, Helena gained media attention in February 2021 after she posted a video that showed her receiving her first COVID-19 vaccination in the early stage of the vaccine rollout. The footage led to a police investigation amid speculation she had falsified a document stating she was a support worker at a pharmacy in order to qualify for the “first priority” vaccination recipients.
In August 2020, the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission (KPI) reprimanded an infotainment television show called Silet for violating the broadcasting code of conduct and standards because it had lavished praise on Helena’s luxury goods, such as cars, watches, necklaces, bags, clothing and shoes. KPI said that showing such high-priced goods set a bad example to children, as it promoted a materialistic and hedonistic lifestyle.
So, what does Helena actually do, when not looking for attention? And how did she make her money? If you’re still reading this far, you are a time-wasting loser with no sense of priority. Read some real news instead. The same goes for anyone who would waste their time writing this sort of arrant twaddle.
Helena is not just an Instagram and TikTok celebrity. She has also tried a singing career, having in 2019 released a single titled Pasrah, which means “resigned”, in the sense of giving up to a particular fate. In this case, being resigned to losing in love. The accompanying video clip is full of symbols of aspirational affluence, such as luxury houses, sports cars and expensive alcohol. Her own luxury house was apparently designed by an Italian architect.
In addition to her palatial house, Helena is known for throwing lavish birthday parties, attended by fellow celebrities. She clearly takes pleasure in showing off her wealth, especially her expensive designer bags, watches and furniture. She’s a member of a luxury sportscar group, McLaren Club Indonesia, in which people like to show off noisy, ridiculously overpriced cars.
Like some other affluent Indonesians, Helena likes to portray her success and wealth as being purely due to hard work. Such stories sometimes seem prone to embellishment. Helena has said she was abandoned by her father when she was 12 years old, so her mother had to work hard to pay for her school fees.
After her studies, Helena worked in a bank, then for a timber-exporting company and other companies, as a secretary and in marketing. She has also “tried different ways” to make additional money to achieve her dreams. She is not ashamed of her success and says other people should also dare to dream.
In addition to showing off her wealth, she has uploaded videos demonstrating her philanthropy, such as providing assistance for sick children at Jakarta’s Cipto Mangunkusumo Hospital.
Helena Lim can do as she pleases, provided she’s not breaking the law. Anyone who views or reads about her antics is a fool. Anyone who writes about her antics is an even bigger fool.